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Customer Surveys Help Improve GNU Compiler Code Quality for PSoC | Cypress Semiconductor

Customer Surveys Help Improve GNU Compiler Code Quality for PSoC

 

At Cypress we're pretty serious about customer surveys. The responses get reviewed very carefully and we try to implement many of the suggested improvements.

Sometimes though, the responses just don t make sense. I recently got a report from a customer complaining that PSoC-based applications use more code space than a competitor's MCU. I was confused because the MCU he mentioned had a Cortex-M0 core, just like the PSoC! How could the code size be significantly different?

   

I ll spare you the details of all the software installations and the hunt for suitable application code to make the all the comparisons but, after a lot of please wait do not reboot your PC and compiling, compiling, compiling, I finally figured out the root cause we needed to update our compiler!

We ship the GNU ARM toolchain with PSoC Creator. Our last big release, v3.0, was in September 2013 and it includes v4.7.3 of the GNU tools. We released a service pack, 3.0 SP1, earlier this year but we did not update the compiler tools because we do not wish to constantly force users to migrate. I tried building some applications with the new v4.8 GNU ARM toolchain and got some very surprising results.

My application was just one of my (8 task) demos that runs on top of any of our supported RTOS. I chose Micrium s uC/OS-III because it uses no library functions (eliminating compiler library optimizations from the calculation) but I could just as well have used Segger s embOS, Keil s RTX or FreeRTOS. When I crank up the code size optimization the 4.7 compiler generates 21574 bytes versus 21534 on v4.8 - a small, but potentially valuable, improvement.

What was much more telling was the difference in code size when optimization was disabled. The v4.7 compiler produces 45454 bytes to the 36710 from v4.8! That s a huge difference and very likely accounts for our customer s comment about PSoC code size.

PSoC Creator 3.1 is coming out this Fall and we re definitely updating the compiler that will ship with it!

This customer survey really woke us up to the need to update the shipping compiler. We really do read every response and it s amazing how many times we make adjustments based on the feedback. Look out for upcoming announcements about PSoC Creator 3.1, with the new compiler, and remember to respond to the surveys!

[reprinted from ARM Connected Community]

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